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Situated along the body of water for which it was named, the village of Otter Lake is in northwest Marathon Township, in Lapeer County, and northeast Forest Township, in Genesee County.

Otter Lake is a 68-acre body of water that spans both counties, the southern two-thirds of which is within the village limits. At its deepest point, the lake is about 117 feet deep. The lake was named by Andrew McArthur for otters that he saw swimming in it.

In the 1800s, Otter Lake was used for ice production. Ice was cut and shipped to other parts of the state for use in refrigeration. The largest ice houses in the village were situated along the Pere Marquette Railroad.

European-American settlement of the area began with Mr. McArthur, who came in 1838. The land upon which the village was built was originally owned by Garritt Smith, and was part of a 6,000-acre tract of pine timberland. The tract was acquired by C.B. Benson of Oswego, New York, who formed the lumber firm of Page & Benson to harvest the timber for lumber.

A post office was established on February 12, 1873, with John M. McDonald as the first postmaster. In 1874, the Pere Marquette Railroad came through, establishing a station in Otter Lake. Otter Lake was the location of a railroad crossing of the Pere Marquette branch line between Flint and Fostoria in Tuscola County, and the Michigan Central's Bay City branch from Detroit to Bay City, by way of Saginaw.

Also in 1874, Mr. Benson arranged to have the village platted and recorded, although Otter Lake wasn't incorporated as a village until 1883.

The chief routes to and from the village include Lake Road, Otter Lake Road, Hart Lake Road, and Washburn Road. Incorporated cities and villages within twenty miles of Otter Lake include Otisville, Columbiaville, Millington, North Branch, Mayville, Vassar, Davison, Clio, Lapeer, Mt. Morris, and Birch Run.

The village's peak population was 562 in 1960, and it currently has a population below 400.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the village of Otter Lake, Michigan. Appropriate topics include online resources for the municipal government, as well as any other governmental entities within the village, and local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.



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